Here’s the thing: I cannot be bought. I know this because I’ve been offered millions of dollars from several different Nigerian Princes in exchange for the smallest of items (my bank account info, social security number, etc.) and still I could not be swayed. So when Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar offered me a free dinner in exchange for reviewing their new PB Pimento Crunch Burger, I was hesitant. But then…you know…free food won out.
So I prepared for this disaster, knowing that the chances that I’ll dig peanut butter on a burger were slim. I figured I would end up writing a review where I piss off (another) restaurant and question if I am too much of an introvert and people-pleaser to do this job. But I gathered my man and his equally fantastic 21 year old daughter and off we went to have, what I warned them would likely be, a very uninteresting dinner.
I want to be clear on a few things: since taking over this site, I have received many offers from restaurants for media tastings and the only thing they all have in common is that it’s never exactly spelled out how things will go. Things may or may not be comped. I may get free range to order whatever I want off the menu, or I may be ordering whatever they want me to try. They may have told the server to be on their best behavior, or they may not have mentioned it because the dinner was set-up by an outside PR firm. I never know until I get there, and sometimes not even then. On this note it’s important to mention that in 4 months of writing Feasting, I have never had a better experience than I had at Bad Daddy’s and I am certain that is nothing special because of “who I am” (I mean that in the least pompous way possible). While your experience may not include as much food showing up at the table as mine did, I still have no doubt that your tastebuds will have as fantastic a time as ours had. So much so, that writing this media tasting/review has been a struggle to not sound like I have promised marriage to a millionaire Nigerian Prince in exchange for wiring a thousand dollar money order.
Our meal started off with margaritas and fried pickles because I like margaritas and I hate pickles, but found it important that JP’s daughter like me at least half as much as she likes fried pickles. I have no idea what a fried pickle should taste like but I feel confident in knowing exactly what a good margarita should taste like and their Bad Ass rocks margarita is just that. This is not a made-from-a-mix drink, but rather some sort of magical concoction with so much booze that it’s limited to two per person. The pickles came with a side of ranch and tasted like pickles and the desperation of wanting your boyfriend’s kid to like you. Come during Happy Hour (3pm-6pm, and 8pm-close) for these offerings to be $5 for the cocktail and $3 for a small order of pickles.
This dinner occurred during a snow storm and a bowl of chili showed up as if by magic. I don’t order chili in restaurants because I make the best chili in the world (just ask anyone who would spare my feelings) and it’s important to me that I’m never convinced otherwise. This chili was better than mine. I want to think that’s because tortilla strips are not a pantry staple for me, but let’s be real. The giant bowl provided leftovers that were my lunch the next day while I sat on my couch and pouted and watched Chopped and commiserated with the three other losers.
I think another round of margaritas showed up about now. If so, they were as delicious as the first round.
When I was 9 years old (just go with me here), I had an appendectomy. The meal I ate just before one of my internal organs nearly burst inside my body, was a cheeseburger. My 9 year old self quickly concluded that cheeseburgers, or rather all burgers, were the root cause of my appendicitis, and therefore evil. It would be twenty years before I tested that theory. In general, I had not really disproved this yet. I’ve had some perfectly fine hamburgers, but I still order the chicken if only out of habit and fear of my kidneys revolting and going the way of my appendix. I tell you all of this so you will know that I don’t take the subject of burgers lightly. That said: I am absolutely certain that the burgers at Bad Daddy’s are the very best this town (and beyond) has to offer. Since I first went to Bad Daddy’s on my own a few months ago, I have not had a burger anywhere else. At some point I’m sure I’ll have to. But the bar has been set and I’m doubting that any other place will be able to leap over it.
My PB Pimento Crunch Burger was all of the things a burger should be and all of the things all of Bad Daddy’s burgers are: fresh, inventive, and delicious. Why does peanut butter on a burger taste good? It doesn’t even make sense, and yet it did. The bacon bourbon jam (this is a thing??? What a time to be alive!!!) was a tangy sweet surprise, the housemade kettle chips added perfect crunch, and Haystack Mountain Vaquero Jack pimento cheese added a creaminess you didn’t even know your burger lusts for. Peanut butter and cheese? Really? And yet, totally yes. It may not have been photogenic, but then again, neither was I while I ate it.
JP ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger On Steroids and Alex had the Western Burger. Both let me eat off their plates under the “I have to. For work.” excuse and both were every bit as good my own burger. It’s possible that (beautiful, perfect) Alex is a server at a different place known for burgers, and if that were true, it’s possible that she called these better. But let’s not make a big deal out of that because getting her in trouble at work is probably not the way to earn her affection.
Their sweet potato fries and tater tot sides make me wonder if anyone actually orders the fruit option. Or the house slaw. Unless you don’t like tater tots, which just means that you haven’t tried these yet, as that was the case for me.
The gluttony continued when a sample of their BD Spiked Shake showed up for all us. Someday I want to bathe in this shake. Probably in the summer when it’s hot, and probably wearing at least a swimsuit, but still. I drank everyone’s because they had to drive and I’m selfless. I’ve tried all of the Spiked Shakes and it’s like picking a favorite child (My youngest. Did I wait long enough to answer?), so you really can’t go wrong, but I definitely suggest you go in one of the directions of boozy milkshakes offerings.
Media reviews are set-up by restaurants to gain attention through a more personal way than advertising. It’s a gamble, sure, but they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t feel pretty good about a writer liking what they have to offer. I have been to tastings where things went so badly, there was no point in even telling you dear readers about it; I’m not going to trash a business because my experience didn’t merit the motivation it takes to put a thousand words onto virtual paper. In fact, at some point very soon you all will be reading about a dinner where I’m going to have to cleverly hide that I left feeling as though I had been in a garlic eating contest and won. (I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet.) Bad Daddy’s Burgers had their year anniversary last week, and while I am grateful to have been introduced to items I would have not normally ordered on my own, they really don’t need my positive words here. They will have no problem standing solidly on their fabulous food, excellent service, and innovative menu. In fact, go now before everyone figures it out and we all have to wait to be seated to get our hands on the town’s best burger.
I don’t get to revisit my favorite restaurants in town often in order to keep bringing new reviews to this site, and already not getting to visit Bad Daddy’s regularly is unfortunate (and may or may not be the reason I haven’t been able to get more reviews done lately). Just as Kristin had her known favorites, you all now know this this place is firmly one of mine. So much so that I created a “Writer Favorite” tag and have used it here first (though this will be used VERY sparingly and sneakily because of the aforementioned issues with people pleasing).
In an ideal world, I would be Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar’s Brand Ambassador, and in that role they would feed me and give me a really cool office and have low expectations about my work ethic. Instead I am forced to say that this is the most unbiased media tasting I could offer of a place that has become this writer’s favorite.
And, word to the wise: never be afraid of the powers of peanut butter.